Retaining staff can be an issue for businesses, particularly when hiring graduates and apprentices looking to start their careers. Recent studies have shown that the average graduate’s first job will last only eighteen months, and almost a quarter of graduates leave their first job within 12 months. A number of factors contribute to this. Some graduates feel that they are given little opportunity for career development in their new roles, while others dislike their work environment. Some come to the conclusion that they have chosen the wrong field, while others simply felt obliged to take on the available role and decide to move on when they are offered something more relevant, stable or well-paid. Similarly, employers may find that the graduates they have hired perform better in interviews than on the job, lack discipline or soft skills, or are simply do not have the right personality for the role. Many of the same factors apply to apprentices and their employers.
There are a number of trends in organisations’ abilities to retain staff. For example, research shows that employers who recruit people to very general non-specialist roles will retain far fewer staff than those organisations recruiting graduates for specialised roles. The scale and nature of the business too can influence the staff turnover. Therefore, small businesses have a higher retention rate on average than large corporations, and traditionally stable public service roles experience less staff turnover than volatile service industries. The graduate or apprentice, however, should not assume that these trends are guaranteed to match their experience.
With employers investing significant resources and capital in their new staff and employees risking leaving gaps in their CVs, both parties stand to lose out when an organisation struggles to retain staff. For this reason, organisations can enact a number of strategies to avoid a high staff turnover. They can promise progression, guaranteeing opportunities to new talent and ensuring that the employee feels that they are being sufficiently utilised. Providing support in terms of training, coaching and regular one to ones allows both the employee and the company mechanisms to provide feedback and generally strengthen the employee/employer relationship. They can also ensure that any job description which they advertise is sufficiently clear about what the daily job will entail, as well as offering potential employees the chance to experience the job prior to accepting a position. Steps such as these not only help to increase the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organisation long-term, but show applicants that they care about employee satisfaction.
What, then, are job-seekers to do with this information? New graduates and apprentices should – with the help of their employers – enter into new positions with a full awareness of what the role will entail, the potential for progression and growth, and what it will do for their career. While no job should be entered into lightly, you should not be afraid to leave a position which is not offering you any development. While leaving a role after a short period is not ideal for either employer or employee, continuing in a position with which you are not compatible is far worse.